Hollister ballplayer invited to prestigious games

Baler shortstop Drew Williams puts the tag on the Monte Vista runner for the out on a steal attempt. Photo by Nick Lovejoy

On July 12, Drew Williams became just the second player in San Benito High’s rich baseball history to earn an invite to play in the prestigious Area Code Games in Long Beach. The Area Code Games are an invite-only showcase event featuring approximately 200 of the top high school players in the nation.
This year’s Games take place Aug. 8-10 in Long Beach. Former San Benito High School standout Darrin Gillies is the only other player in school history to make the Area Code Games.
“I was excited to hear the news,” said Williams, the incoming senior shortstop who received a call from a scout with the Oakland A’s. “I tried to keep my composure, but it was hard because this is something that you’ll remember for a long time.”
To give perspective on the degree of difficulty to get in the Games, players have to get invited based upon a recommendation from a Major League Baseball scout—and that’s just to get a tryout. On July 11, Williams was in Stockton for the tryout, which involved players getting timed from home plate to first base, batting practice, fielding grounders and then playing in a simulated game.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Williams left the facility knowing he had done just about everything he could to earn an invite to play in the Area Code Games.
“I went 2 for 2, made some nice plays and thought I performed well,” he said. “Even if I didn’t make it, I left knowing I played well that day.”
All told, Williams spent close to seven hours in Stockton. He left Hollister at 5:30 a.m. and was there until 4:30 p.m. before getting dinner and heading home.
“It was a long day, but well worth it,” he said.
That’s because every Major League Baseball team will have a scout at the Area Code Games, with some teams having as many as a half-dozen or more scouts from their organization in attendance. College coaches are also allowed to be present.
Before the Area Code Games, Williams will be playing for the California Baseball Club in the Perfect Game World Series in Arizona, which feature some of the best elite traveling teams in the nation. Williams said he’ll also be working on his cardio, as a scout from the Giants told him he got a little slower.
“I’ll try to get my (sprint) times a little faster while still keeping my strength,” said Williams, who made a verbal commitment to play at UC Santa Barbara last year.
Williams will be joined by his best friend, Mitty’s Haydn King, for the Perfect Game World Series and the Area Code Games.
“It’s going to be a blast,” he said.
Williams is just the latest in a long line of San Benito High baseball players who have either earned scholarships or earned a top honor. Recent Balers graduate Daniel Hopkins earned a scholarship to play at Holy Names University in Oakland. Balers coach Billy Aviles said it wouldn’t be a surprise if another player earns a scholarship within the next couple of weeks.
Williams takes hitting lessons with King’s dad, Matt, at their batting cage in Aptos. Williams also takes a lot of batting practice at his home. The left-handed hitting Williams earned the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division Most Valuable Player award this past season.

Leave your comments